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Posts Tagged ‘boy choir’

I’ve been putting this off, but it needs to be done. So much of what I think and feel these days is related to what’s going on in my life. And what’s going on in my life is most certainly a culmination of the events of this past year, during my silence.

Let me start by giving you a hint of where I am right now.  Do you remember 1of2, 2of2 and Tertiary Adjunct?  Whom I referred to collectively as…the Borg Collective? Well, in rereading the posts that I tagged them in, I see that I have not done justice to my connection to them. Before, I had quite a crush on 1of2 and a mild crush on 2of2. Tertiary was cute.

Well, now I can say without hesitation that all three beautiful, magnificent, wonderful children are my YFs!! First true YFs I’ve had since The Beloved, back when I was 17!

On Good Friday, 2009, I sang a church service at a different church than The Citadel. The Citadel wasn’t having music (budget reasons) so I had gone elsewhere to get some extra money. I got a lot more than that! I got a free trip to ENGLAND!!

The church I picked, I picked for much the same reason as when I first started at The Citadel. The church had a boy choir. So for three weeks I toured various cathedrals and churches all over England (and Wales) singing and living with a large group of children, including many boys age 10-14 (and older). Four in particular really worked their way into my heart.

Ruins near Canterbury Cathedral

I would love to show pictures of the kids, but for obvious reasons, I must abstain. This was taken right next to the cathedral. I never did figure out what it was originally...

A boy (who looked rather like The Beloved) of 10 who was often homesick and needing a lot of attention. He eventually started physically fighting with the other 10-year-olds. Early on, I adopted him as my sort of protégé. I helped him through losing one of his last baby teeth while on the trip. :)

A boy just shy of 13 with an amazing voice! (Shepherd) He also loved to play Frisbee and cards. I eventually learned that he once sang at The Citadel, shortly after I joined, but switched to sing closer to home.

An 11-year-old Belgian boy (Catboy) who was beautiful!! Stunning. He joined us half way through the tour. His English was not at all bad, but he didn’t have a lot of confidence with it. For his first few days, he would barely speak, but made animal sounds at people instead. (Usually, he would hiss like a cat.) At the very end, I had started to break through his shell and he would talk to me with his adorable French accent. I initially started to get his attention when I shocked him with the quality of my duck impression. ;) He was a fiend at Frisbee.

And lastly… CJ. It is hard to think about him. By the end of the trip I had really fallen in love with this boy. “Painful” does not begin to describe how I felt when the trip ended at the thought of never seeing him again… He’s really the subject of another post though, I suppose.

Well, the trip did end. And while I was depressed for a little while after, it wasn’t too long until this Intermezzo of my life ended, and the next Act began!

(I intended this to be all one big post, but it kinda feels to me like it should be two.  So, expect Part, the Second some time in the near future!)

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I had high hopes and low expectations for that concert.  My expectations won.  In honesty, the boys have potential.  Comparing them against other American boy choirs, they are not too far below acceptable.  (I find it sad, the difference in skill between the average American and English boy choir.)  However the men sang no better than the boys, and often not as well.

This group has ideas to raise money to open a choir school.  I don’t think so.  Long before opening a school I would want to be able to show that the choir has something worth teaching.  First step, ditch all the men.  Hire professionals.  With a solid ATB section to support them, the boys would automatically improve greatly.  Second, start the men performing on their own so that some subset of the organization can give a nuanced and polished performance.  Then start raising money to start a choir school  You may even already have a few teachers among the gentlemen.  I also think a way is needed to inspire passion for music and singing in the boys, as American boy singers are woefully low energy.  If one selected forces in numbers like King’s College, Cambridge (16 boys, 14 men, 1 director, 1 organist) there would be a 1:1 man to boy ratio.  A mentoring/apprenticeship program could conceivably help to inspire the boys to actually start putting themselves into the music rather than just letting it happen around them.

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